Friday, February 17, 2006

"You were saying something nice about me, I can feel it."

I found this photograph of Samuel Beckett and his American publisher Rosset online. It's by Bob Adelman. I also found this snippet, which shows Beckett at his spiky best:

The door is imperceptibly ajar. Thus reads a stage direction in one of Samuel Beckett's plays. One director, endeavoring to honor Beckett's meaning to the letter, labored over this direction for many minutes, painstakingly experimenting with varying degrees of ajarness. Eventually Beckett himself, watching in disgust, strode onto the stage and slammed the door shut. "But it says ajar," the director protested - whereupon Beckett turned on him and snarled, "It also says imperceptibly!"

The title quote, by the way, comes from Beckett's 1947 play Eleuthéria., unproduced and unperformed, and only published after much trouble was taken by Rosset and others. It's not his best play, but it just might be his most interesting, and I think Rosset is right...Beckett would eventually have consented to having it published, and maybe even performed, if he had lived longer.

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